Toronto breaks its record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU patients

Toronto reached a grim new high Wednesday with 1,010 people with COVID-19 in hospital and 194 in the intensive care unit. 

City reported 1,302 new cases on Wednesday 

Piumi Seneviratna, 29, gets her first dose of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine while her husband, Shanaa Modchalingam, 29, looks on during a door-to-door clinic run by a team of healthcare workers from Humber River Hospital at the San Romanoway apartments, in Toronto’s northeast Jane and Finch neighbourhood, on Apr. 20, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Toronto reached a grim new high Wednesday, reporting 1,010 people with COVID-19 are in hospital and 194 are in the intensive care unit. 

"Today's numbers reflect the seriousness of the situation in which we find ourselves," said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, warning the city is on track to reach the milestone of 3,000 COVID-19 related deaths. 

The city reported 27 more deaths Wednesday, bringing the total to 2,970, along with 1,302 new cases of the virus. 

Toronto will ramp up vaccinations further in the 13 "hottest" of the hot spot neighbourhoods, as part of a "sprint strategy" Mayor John Tory said on Wednesday. 

Tory said Toronto will be "significantly" increasing vaccination capacity at city-run clinics by 20 to 25 per cent.

"We have dramatically increased available capacity but we don't have the supply," the mayor said.

A woman is vaccinated with a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto's Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Despite rates of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations far exceeding other areas of the city, residents of the M3N postal code continue to struggle with the lowest vaccination rates in Toronto. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

The city expects that situation to change in about three weeks when the province increases supply of doses to more than 60,000 doses per week, up from 56,000.

To match supply forecasts, 231,000 additional appointment spots will soon be available for May 10 through June 6, said Toronto Fire Chief and head of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg. 

As the city expands its mobile vaccination clinic efforts, it's enlisting the help of paramedics and firefighters, Pegg said.

"This will further assist some of our most vulnerable residents, such as those experiencing homelessness, those who rely on shelters and drop-in centres and those living outdoors," Pegg said. 

The city vaccinated over 25,600 people yesterday, with thousands of doses administered at pop-up and mobile clinics in hot spot neighourhoods, according to Toronto Public Health, noting only a small number of appointments are available at city-run clinics for the next two weeks. 

A pop-up clinic for residents 18 years and older will run at Jane and Finch for postal codes M3L, M3N and M3M, the city said. A mobile clinic will operate in postal code M3N.

Doctors say a record number of patients in the Toronto area are being transferred to other regions as the third wave puts incredible strain on the health-care system. There's concern about what would happen if there's a further spike in COVID-19 cases.

"I am very concerned about the potential for us to not be able to meet the demand of the pace at which patients will present through the front doors of our hospital," said Dr. Andrew Healey, chief of emergency services and an emergency and critical care doctor at William Osler Health System, a network of hospitals in Toronto and Peel Region. 

"We are dangerously close to not being able to provide typical care in typical spaces to the patients who present with COVID-19 infection and others in our hospital system."


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